I’ll give you the first three, starting with the third one.
Manu Katché is French. He’s the only one that has achieved long lasting international stardom among the drummers who comes from my country. He was the main drummer on the seminal Peter Gabriel album “So”. He did “Sledgehammer” or “In your eyes”. Yes, that’s him. He has a blend of irresistible groove and originality. He was on Sting “Nothing like the sun” album. He played with a lot of international heavy hitters like “Tear for fears” or “Simple minds “. He’s very good with extremely difficult assignments. “Bad man” of “Tear for fear” would be one of them, it took a lot of takes to get the song right. I’m also thinking about “Mandela day” from Simple minds.
In number two, I would put Steve Gadd. He’s one of the best known American drummers. One of those studio cats that had played with everybody. His groove is infectious. Every note he plays, he cares for. He’s the drummer behind some of the most beautiful drum beat ever created like “50 ways to leave your lover” or “Later in the evening” from Paul Simon. He’s played for fusion composers also. Chick Corea or Lee Ritenour would come to mind. With each artist, he put his own mark, his groove, his elegance.
And my favorite drummer is Stewart Copeland, the drummer of “The Police”. His originality, his musicality is what gets me every time. Those elements shine on “Walking on the moon” or “Murder by number”. Also, he simply refuses to lay a typical rock groove, which is not an easy thing to do when you play for a pop band.
But who can forget his drumming on “Don’t stand so close to me”, “Every little things she does is magic” or the monumental “Message in a bottle”?
Probably the most amazing thing about Stewart Copeland, is the fact that what he does live, in concert, is 10 times better than what he plays on the studio albums.
The Police have only two live CD’s. And both are masterpieces of music and drumming.